JOUR315: Convergent Journalism
Assessment Task 2
0:47 Seconds – Name’s Craig Wickham, I’m the Vice President of Wollongong Motorcycle Club.
0:52 Seconds – Journalist: So how long has the club been running?
CW: Since 1958, so it’s been running for about 50 years now.
1:02 Seconds – Journalist: What’s it like just in general at the moment?
CW: I think you’ll find that a lot more people are riding more at a club level rather than doing state titles and things like that where the entry fees are a lot dearer and your bikes got to be right up to scratch. So yeah, people are just doing a club level where it’s thirty dollars to join the club, thirty dollars to ride on the day, and your bike doesn’t have to be brilliant to race at a club level.
1:27 – CW: I’ve been around it for a long time now and it goes through its up and downs in popularity.
Bike shops just aren’t helping any out anymore whereas before they’d give you free tyres and stuff like that. Now they’re getting nothing.
1:59 – CW: It’s a luxury item, it’s not a necessity and they want their kids to do it but surely a football and set of golf clubs is cheaper than maintaining motorbikes to race.
I’ve got a couple of employees of my own who race and one of them stopped racing at the end of last year because he just couldn’t afford it, he’s back into it again this year, but he had other things he had to buy and that’s right, racing is the first thing that drops out of your budget.
2:26 – New talent: Jonathan Burton: Hi my name’s Jono Burton; I was originally a motocross rider and I pulled out of my apprenticeship about eight months ago, just because of the financial crisis and so forth. I’ve recently converted to mountain biking because it’s a lot cheaper. Just couldn’t afford paying track fees, fuel, forking out twenty grand a year for a bike, that sort of thing. So I took the plunge and decided to do mountain biking.
Beginning sequence. Opening shot of the starting line full of bikes. Zoom out focuses the attention on the intricacy and attention to detail on bikes. Accompanied by ACDC’s ‘What do you do for money honey?’
Wide shot of man with starting board, signalling there is 15 seconds until the gate drops and the race begins.
Zooming out shot of gate dropping. Panning of bikes as they ride past. The race has begun.
Sequence shot of the three bikes leading the race at another point on the track. Zooming out showcases the different obstacles.
Low angle shot of a different race altogether. Showcases the obstacles and the speed of racing.
Shot of a step-up jump and the downhill tabletop. Zooming out allows the audience to see how action packed the racetrack can be at any one time.
Introduction of first talent, Craig Wickham. Music and NATSOT faded down.
Tilt shot of the A/B Grade classes lining up for practice.
Low angle shot of bikes riding past the camera, down straightaway into the first corner.
1:10 – Back to talent.
Overlay vision: pan of starting grid. Indicating another race is about to begin.
Cut back to talent to reinforce the point.
Volume of NATSOT and music faded up. Shot of gate dropping the race starting. Followed by pan of field moving past camera.
Sequence shot of race around the first corner making its way back past the camera. Pan onto step up jump.
2:06 – Overlay of to bike racing round track. The camera zooms out and then pans where they are riding.
2:23 – Back to talent to reinforce point.
2:29 – Cut to low angle walking shot of starting grid. Signals to the audience the kind of thing Jonathan did before finances forced him to quit.
2:40 – Back to talent to reinforce point.
2:45 – Still shot of Jonathan getting on his mountain bike, signals a change of sport.
2:47 – Drive by shot: low angle shot of Jonathan riding towards the camera, followed immediately by a new shot of him riding past the camera.
Overlay of Jonathan riding into the first corner of a trail. Music and NATSOT faded up.
Jonathan riding over a jump and towards the camera around a corner
Sequence shot riding towards the camera on the next part of the course. Zooming out.
Followed by a still shot of Jonathan riding past the camera and off into the bush.
Overlay finishes with Jonathan pushing his bike up the hill. Camera pans from bush to the road. Music and vision/NATSOT slowly faded out.
End of piece.
While there has been immense publicity on the dire state of the world’s finances recently, many groups and organisations that form an integral part of everyday communities are now beginning to feel the pinch.
Wollongong Motorcycle Club has been at the forefront of clubman motocross in Australia for decades. However, due to the ailing economy and rises in the cost of living, the club is now suffering heavy losses in membership numbers. The first rostered race day of the season was held at the beginning of April, with some classes only sporting a handful of riders – the same time last year, starting grids were overflowing with competitors.
The piece speaks volumes about how a hobby can sometimes become the first thing to drop out of someone’s budget when the going gets tough financially. This trend is fast becoming relevant to many people playing a sport and may increase as the financial situation worsens.
Overall, I’ve found the processes of putting this assignment together extremely positive. Looking back on it now, I’m really happy that I’ve chosen a subject that I can easily identify with, because it has made all these new learning processes so much easier.
Some of the biggest hurdles have been overcoming the fact that the talent I was using were people that I would usually regard as good friends. So for me to confront them in this kind of light was quite difficult, but all parties were satisfied with the end result. As simple as it sounds, conducting the interviews in front of people that I usually ride with on the weekend felt really strange; to be completely honest a bit ‘wanky,’ but no one really seemed to take too much notice of it.
Shooting vision has been the biggest positive for me in this assignment; so much so, that I’m actually planning to go out and purchase my own gear just as a hobby. I actually surprised myself when looking back at the vision I’d shot! I guess that says something in itself.
The process of editing raw vision was also really interesting. I think that just experimenting and trying to work things out by yourself is by far the best kind of learning when it comes to this sort of thing – I actually feel quite confident to use Final Cut Pro and am looking forward to the final assessment. Incorporating relevant music into the video (i.e. ACDC’s song uses the central theme of money: “What do you do for money honey – how do you get your kicks?” etc.) made the overall impact a lot more effective and gave the piece another dimension.
I’ve also learnt a bit by using a narration style of voice over from talent, rather than a voice over from the journalist. Getting your talent to go that extra distance and really stretch out their grabs helps to add depth to your story – it’s a great way of providing information to the audience in a format that is completely natural and credible.
I’m not going to say that absolutely everything on this assignment went perfectly, because it didn’t. The biggest lessons learnt were to save my scratch disc in the right place, and to wrap my external hard drive up in padding before I bring it to class! While these things were major obstacle at the time, I was really happy with overall outcomes of the assisgnment.
In reference to The Daily Miracle, an Introduction to Journalism (Conley and Lamble, 2006), I believe this convergence piece meets the following criteria in terms of newsworthiness.
Impact: The story holds great impact to the everyday person, because it gives an insight into how far the financial crisis has branched out. To think that a Motorcycle club of less than two thousand people has been so negatively affected by world markets is mind boggling. It gives scope to people who dismiss that Australia’s going to slide into recession.
Proximity: Obviously for Illawarra audiences, this story is literally under their noses. The story also holds relevance to anyone involved in motocross, or for that matter anyone involved in a close-knit sporting organisation.
Currency: This story is absolutely parallel to current economic related trends throughout the world. Financial experts mostly agree Australia is in the midst of a recession, so this story holds immense currency.
Timeliness: Given the announcements from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan regarding recession in the last week, this story is one of great timeliness. The fact that Wollongong Motorcycle Club is now really noticing a fall in numbers suggests that the story is timely.
Human Interest: Using Jonothan Burton as my second talent would suggest that this convergent piece has human interest. Jonathan’s personal story is one of immediate curiosity, because he is only one of many motocross riders in the same position.
Conflict: The story doesn’t feature as strongly in terms of conflict, however it brings to light the debate as to what degree of trouble Australia is in when it comes to financial crisis.
Prominence: Using the Vice President of Wollongong Motorcycle Club means that the story does involve prominence, because of his position within the motocross community. Audiences outside this community are also able to identify with him because of his position at the club.
The Unusual: To most people, motocross isn’t a mainstream sport. By using a colourful introduction and great NATSOT, I’m able to introduce the audience to one of the most physical and gruelling sports around.